Lauren Moye, FISM News
The Biden administration announced on Saturday that unaccompanied minors would no longer be turned away from the border under Title 42, despite a federal court’s recent decision that upheld the Trump-era policy.
This decision, however, drew swift backlash from Democratic lawmakers who were frustrated by the White House’s defiance of their calls to end the program for all illegal immigrants.
Senators Bob Menendez (N.J.), Cory Booker (N.J.) Alex Padilla (Calif.), and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) responded with harsh condemnation to the White House decision through a joint statement released on Saturday. The joint statement begins with the words, “We are deeply disappointed in the Biden Administration’s decision to maintain Title 42.”
While the Democrats recognized that the White House made the “right choice” in not expelling unaccompanied children under the policy, they said it did not go far enough. The letter said that the policy continued to send “families with minor children back to persecution and torture.” Characterizing the illegal immigrants as “asylum seekers,” they positioned that there was “no public health benefit” to rejecting families at the border under Title 42, arguing that COVID-19 is now more manageable with vaccines and tests.
The senators then said the decision was “perplexing” as to why the “draconian policy” continues to be recommended at the border.
The statement concluded with, “It is time for the Biden Administration to reinstate humanitarian protections at our borders, to build a functional asylum system that is equipped to manage our global migration challenge, and to stop breathing new life into this inhumane Trump policy.”
The use of Title 42, which has existed since 1942 and prohibits entry into the U.S. if it poses a public health risk, has been used as a tool to help control the COVID-19 pandemic since March of 2020. President Biden temporarily changed the policy in January 2021 to exempt minors. However, Texas sued that the burden would be too great for the state to bear in a lawsuit that was settled in their favor on March 4.
In response to U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman’s decision, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced on Saturday that the policy would be permanently ended for minors. The official statement said that the CDC considered the court’s concerns but had “determined” that expelling “unaccompanied non-citizen children” was not necessary to “protect the public health.”
The group of senators were not the only Democrats to lash out at the CDC’s decision. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, under the leadership of Congressman Raul Ruiz (Calif.), said “enough is enough” and that it was “long overdue” to end the use of Title 42.
CHC Statement on Continuation of Title 42 🔽 pic.twitter.com/giqkbkOD5w
— Congressional Hispanic Caucus (@HispanicCaucus) March 12, 2022
Another member of the caucus, Raul Grijalva, renewed the call to end the entire policy.
Ending Title 42 for unaccompanied migrant children is a step forward, but the truth is that Title 42 remains a cruel relic and policy reminder of the Trump-immigration era. It’s time to immediately end Title 42 for adults and families.
— Raul M. Grijalva (@RepRaulGrijalva) March 12, 2022
Many other prominent Democrats have been pushing for a total end to Title 42 in recent months.
The cries from the left, however, did not address what should be done to fix the border crisis; something that recent polls have revealed weighs heavily on the majority of Americans. FISM recently reported a year-over-year high for January migrant crossings alongside increasing fentanyl seizures, both of which drive concerns about the unsecured southern U.S. border.